Thomas Hitzlsperger, a retired 31-year-old German footballer, has just become the most high-profile European footballer to come out of the closet. In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, he said he was gay and wanted to talk publicly about it to raise awareness about homosexuality among professional athletes:
"In England, Italy and Germany being a homosexual is no big thing, at least not in the dressing room ... I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays. You let them get on with it as long as the jokes are somewhat funny and not too insulting ... Being gay is topic that is 'ignored' in football and not 'a serious topic in the changing room'. Fighting spirit, passion and winning mentality are intrinsically linked, that doesn't fit the cliché: 'Gays are soft'."
Welcome out, Thomas. And as a new member of our team we will be sending you a copy of The Gay Agenda as well as the Official Coming Out Toaster Oven.
Congratulations, good luck, and welcome out!